I'm new in Camping, and recently I have camped in France, in the Vosges region, in the locality called "Le bonhomme".

Well it's not the pure wilderness but it was very unusual for me, as it was nobody around and I was in a dense forest.

I know there was wild boars, grey wolves (and maybe boreal lynx)

So, how to keep away those animals from my camp without setting a fire?

3 Answers 3


I haven't seen any evidence that animals are kept away by a fire. This answer discusses that briefly. In general, wild animals in pristine backcountry areas tend to be wary of humans, simply because we're unfamiliar. Some animals, such as squirrels and bears, that live in heavily used areas can become dependent on human food, and they will then become habituated to humans. In areas like Yosemite Valley, these are animals that cruise the campgrounds nightly. They're certainly not staying away from campgrounds because there are fires.

Wolf attacks are extremely rare in Europe. A study of wolf attacks states: "Since wolves recolonised France in the late 1980's after almost a century of absence there have been no documented attacks on humans." If you get an opportunity to see a wolf in the wild, you could celebrate it as a rare, once-in-a-lifetime experience to see an animal that has been driven almost to extinction. In times and places where wolf populations are less endangered, it appears that many attacks are by rabid wolves. I doubt that there is much you can do to deter a rabid animal. Note that many different animal species carry rabies, e.g., skunks and bats.

Your most likely problems when dealing with wild animals are hassles, not attacks, and those hassles are likely to revolve around small animals and their attempts to get your food. To avoid those hassles, the most straightforward thing you can do is to take measures to prevent animals from getting access to your food, and to hide the smell of your food. For example, you can keep all your food sealed inside zip-lock bags, and you can hang your food from a tree or put it inside a hard-sided canister or a kevlar sack such as the ursack.

  • 2
    +1 for appreciating the rareness of sighting animals like wolves. It is very unlikely you'll ever see one. And I will bet all my money that you'll never ever ever see a boreal lynx.
    – fgysin
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 13:58
  • Btw. rabies is extinct in France (and mostly all of Europe en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prevalence_of_rabies#Europe), so no danger there.
    – fgysin
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 14:00

While @Ben has written a pretty nice answer, I'll tackle the OP's question a little more directly with a couple of concrete suggestions:

  • Animals are attracted by food. Seal your food in an airtight container (the rolltop bags used in water sports are a great option) and hang it off the ground, for example strung over a tree branch. Be sure to also clean your utensils and cooking dishes, and keep these similarly stored.
  • You can also rig up warning lines around your camp, attached to bells, clean tin cans, or other metallic things, as well as bright scraps of fabric. When an animal disturbs the lines, the items on the lines will clatter and ring, and the fabric will flutter, scaring away the animal. Some companies such as Coughlan's sell Bear Bells, but you could buy any bell of the "jingle bells" variety and attach it to a warning line.

Note, however, that these methods may not be entirely effective, depending exactly on what sort of animal you are dealing with.

  • Thanks for the answer, I knew for the food so I let all of my food away from my camp, and like you said, hung in a tree. For the warning lines, it's a good idea but I'm wondering, if the animal is scared, Will he run away or try to fight against the origin of the noise? I know it can be a stupid question but I'm want to avoid a situation like I had many weeks ago
    – Dipiks
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 8:59
  • 3
    Generally, animals will run from noise (and run back the way they came, which they know to be safe, rather into your camp with all its strange scents and colours). The old maxim "they are more scared of you, than you are of them" is usually true. The only reasons an animal will fight are generally if it is trapped, provoked, starving (more than usual), or protecting its young. Like humans, they tend to prefer being left in peace.
    – flith
    Commented Jan 11, 2017 at 9:02

Related to flith's answer, noise can be a deterrent. The same way fires are prohibited in some areas, making too much noise may also be frowned upon, so this may not be a viable strategy depending on where you are.

Wilderness survival expert Les Stroud carries a harmonica as a personnel item and to provide some comfort. He has noted a thought, as I and others have as well, that the harmonica noise can deter animals (while also providing personal comfort before bed).

The saying 'they are more scared of you than you are of them' applies here - animals need to exercise caution as a matter of survival, and approaching a strange creature is risky. Approaching a strange creature that appears very large, fierce, fearless, or making disturbing, loud, piercing sounds (like those from a harmonica) may also appear risky and cause more animals to avoid the area accordingly.

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